【Nara】A Sightseeing Model Course Around the Nature Rich Kashihara Jingu Shrine
Enjoy a healing trip to Kashihara City, where history and nature blend beautifully. Some examples of this include the flower fields at the Moto-yakushiji Temple Ruins and the verdant, vast grounds of Kashihara Jingu Shrine. ＜*This information is from Kansai Walker (issued Septmber 19, 2017)＞
＜11:14 AM＞ Moto-yakushiji Temple Ruins
The sight of pale purple flowers covering the 14,000sq.m. paddy fields around the historical Moto-yakushiji Temple Ruins is astounding. The Hotei Aoi (water hyacinth) petals all face different directions, so you can see their unique patterns regardless of where you’re looking from.
Approximately 14,000 bulbs are planted in the paddy fields at the Moto-yakushiji Temple Ruins, which is designated as a Special Historic Site. At the height of the season, you can see around 400,000 flowers blooming! The best time to see them is late September.
These flowers are called Hotei Aoi because the rounded bulb looks like Hotei’s stomach (known as the Fat Buddha, Hotei is the deity of contentment and happiness).
Moto-yakushiji Temple was once a large temple that was known as one of the four great temples of the Asuka period. The cornerstones from the Golden and East towers, as well as the foundation of the main pillars in the East and West towers, still remain to this day.
■Moto-yakushiji Temple Ruins
＜Phone: 0744-21-1213; Hours: Free access; Closed: None; Entrance fee: None; Access: 6 minutes on foot from Unebigoryomae Station on the Kintetsu Railway＞
【6 minutes by foot】
Unebigoryomae Station to Kashiharajingu-mae Station on the Kintetsu Railway
The Kintetsu Railway runs by a peaceful rural landscape. One of the pleasures of traveling on this train is getting to see scenery that’s really different from big cities.
【3 minutes on foot from Kashiharajingu-mae Station on the Kintetsu Railway】
The Maze Soba that this noodle shop introduced in March was meant to be offered for a limited time, but was so popular that it was added to the standard menu instead. Their ramen – which has a broth made of pork bones, seafood, and soy sauce – has a perfect balance between the rich umami flavor of the pork bones and the aroma of the seafood.
This is their Maze Soba (800 JPY). It is a voluminous dish with plenty of white scallions, red onions, mizuna (Japanese mustard greens), and diced char siu (barbecued pork). The sauce made with niboshi (dried sardines) is the key to the deliciousness of this dish.
This is the Tokusei Ramen (930 JPY). The noodles are made with whole-wheat flour. If you're hungry, the Tokusei version with an additional two slices of char siu, a simmered egg, and double the amount of menma (bamboo shoots) is recommended.
The restaurant has just 12 seats at the counter. It may fill up by lunch time, so be sure to get there early!
＜Phone: 0744-27-2223; Hours: 11:30 AM - 2:00 PM (last order), 5:30 PM - 11:00 PM (last order); Closed: Evening of the last Monday of every month; Capacity: 12; Smoking: No smoking; Access: 3 minutes on foot from Kashiharajingu-mae Station on the Kintetsu Railway＞
【12 minutes on foot】
＜1:00 PM＞Kashihara Jingu Shrine
Kashihara Jingu Shrine is known as a power spot that is related to the establishment of Japan. If you're visiting Kashihara, you cannot miss this spot. Not only is it full of historical value, but there are also many must-see places, such as the vast and verdant grounds, the magnificent shrine, and the Homotsukan (Treasure Hall) with numerous valuable treasures.
The path to the front of the shrine has a large torii gate. There are rows of kashi (evergreen oak) trees, from which the area derives its name, on both sides of the path.
Fukada Pond is a large pond measuring approximately 49,500sq.m. There is a path that connects both sides of the pond together so that people can cross over it.
Shinrin Yuen is a liberating space where you can relax while being surrounded by greenery.
The worship hall outside that comes into view when you pass through the Minami Shin-mon gate stands solemnly at the foot of Mt. Unebi.
The Ohada Mamori (500 JPY), which is meant to protect you if you keep it with you all the time, is particularly popular among women as an “amulet for beauty".
This is a picture of the Yatagarasu Kenko Mamori (500 JPY), which is in the shape of a yatagarasu (mythical raven). It is said to have health benefits if you keep it on your body.
The Homotsukan was opened in 2000. It houses numerous valuable treasures, including Emperor Meiji's tachi (long sword). A special exhibit will be held from November 20 (Monday) through November 26 (Sunday).
＜Hours: 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM; Closed: Mondays - Fridays (open for reservations); Entrance fee: 300 JPY/adult＞
■Kashihara Jingu Shrine
＜Phone: 0744-22-3271; Hours: 6:00 AM - 6:00 PM (Opens at sunrise and closes at sunset, so varies depending on the season); Closed: None; Entrance fee: Free for the shrine, 300 JPY for the Homotsukan; Access: 10 minutes on foot from Kashiharajingu-mae Station on the Kintetsu Railway＞
【10 minutes on foot】
＜3:00 PM＞Umezono Kashihara Branch
This is a popular wagashi (Japanese sweets) shop that opened approximately 30 years ago near Kashiharajingu-mae Station. The shop has a wide range of wagashi that are all made with seasonal ingredients, including its signature products, Shirakashikko (180 JPY) and Hon-warabi (190 JPY). Customers will surely enjoy the fact that they can purchase even just 1 piece of almost all of its products!
This is the Budo Daifuku (210 JPY). Its charm point is the contrast between the moist texture of the mochi and the grapes.
The products change with the seasons, so you can also enjoy the flavors of fall.
■Umezono Kashihara Branch
＜Phone: 0744-27-7768; Hours: 9:00 AM - 6:00 PM, 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM on Mondays; Closed: Tuesdays; Access: 5 minutes on foot from Kashiharajingu-mae Station on the Kintetsu Railway＞
[This article was originally published in Walkerplus on 10.11.2017]
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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